The Europa League round of 32 second legs get underway tonight as Manchester United head to Saint Etienne looking to avoid blowing a 3-0 lead. Spurs then host Gent tomorrow night, looking to overturn a 1-0 deflict from the first leg.
Tottenham however need to decide where their priorities lie with them still active in three competitions. As we approach the business end of this season, something will have to give whether its the Europa League, FA Cup or Premier League title race. Should Spurs stay or go as far as the Europa League is concerned for this season?
Saint Etienne vs Manchester United 5:00pm ( Man Utd lead 3-0 on aggregate)
With the EFL Cup final on Sunday, Jose Mourinho will be keen to rest several key players tonight. The massive lead will come as a blessing as long as the French side don’t score twice early on or things could get wobbly.
Several preferred options for this leg have been left at Carrington with Wayne Rooney and Luke Shaw, notable absentees from the group that have gone to France. This suggests that attention is already on Sunday’s trip to Wembley.
The match should be relatively simple passage as long as don’t concede two goals in the first half. If they can hold on then it should be a slender victory to the Red Devils.
Prediction: Saint Etienne 0-1 Manchester United
Result: Saint Etienne 0-1 Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur vs Gent – Thursday, 8:05pm (Gent lead 1-0 on aggregate)
Tottenham come into this match needing at least two goals, if want to progress in Europe.
Their home record at Wembley in Europe this season has been poor with only one win in the Champions League group stage en route to dropping into the Europa League.
After Sunday’s away performance at Fulham, Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping that his side can push on and deliver a battering to Gent. The fact that no Belgian side have beaten the North Londoners in England will be a welcome boost of confidence.
In the event that penalties are needed to settle the tie, it could go either way because Tottenham have won their only penalty shoot out to occur on home soil. Gent however won their only European shoot out away from home so its all to play for.
The last time that Gent had English opposition was in 1964/65 when West Ham beat them 2-1 on aggregate. The Hammers went on to win the tournament that season, Could that be a positive omen for Spurs tomorrow night?
The lack of clinical finishing cost Tottenham in the first leg but expect them to deliver a better performance this time and progress without extra time or penalties.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Gent
Result: Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Gent (Gent win 3-2 on aggregate)